Speaking as someone who has both been a bully and experienced the pain of bullying, guest speaker Marc Mero said he is using his energy to combat bullying wherever he finds it.
Mero, a retired amateur boxer and former professional wrestler, said communities and schools need to come together to combat bullying in the classrooms and on the Internet.
He spoke about cyber bullying that goes on using various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and texting. These are places where bullying often occurs, he said, and sometimes young people who have been ridiculed on social media begin thinking of suicide as their only resort.
A problem with bullying on social media and the Internet, he said, is that when you hear things enough times, you start believing those things.
In 2007, Mero founded a non-profit organization called “Champions of Choices” that encourages young people to make good choices and avoid bullying.
Some of his own choices were bad ones, he said, resulting in broken dreams and broken relationships. He was divorced from his wife of 10 years. Some of his friends died of alcohol abuse and drug overdoses. His parents also made the choice to smoke, and both died from diseases related to that.
Mero recounted his own life. He said he treated his family badly when growing up, but his little brother and sister looked up to him. He talked of losing family members and said he wished he could go back and treat his family members with respect instead of bullying them.
He emphasized the importance of goal setting to the students, saying goals provide the incentive to deal with bullying and any other negatives that crop up in life.
Details in the Nov. 9 Albion News Print and E-Editions.